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I juggle an awful lot of admin plates in the air, for myself and EEM training schedules - I look at my desk and it is covered in files, I have a stack of things to write and prepare, I have action lists galore and my inbox is constantly pinging BUT I really do believe that it's all a workout for my brain, that it keeps my brain as nimble as it can be for my age (well, some might disagree with that last statement!). The brain needs to go to the gym every day to keep fit - so I don't think retirement is on the cards yet !!!

Researchers at the York University in Toronto have found that patients who were bilingual had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about four years later, on average, than those who spoke only their mother tongue. This delay in the onset of symptoms is dramatic and there are no medications that have shown comparable effects.

A prominent neurologist told me years ago that anyone who is serious about the fitness of their brain should ‘exercise’ it as they do the rest of their bodies, regardless of their age.

By using it you are less likely to lose it. The brain can be exercised in a variety of ways:

  • Learning a language

  • Learn to play chess or bridge

  • Memorising a couple of lines of poetry every day.

  • Learning anything new that stretches and frustrates you!

  • Learn how to use a computer – is the perfect mental challenge.

  • Learn to play a musical instrument.

  • Trying to answer [or even understand] the questions on University Challenge [BBC 2], Pointless [BBC 2] or Mastermind (BBC)

  • A daily crossword or Sudoku. They exercise different parts of the brain, so go for the one that stretches you.

  • Brain Teasers, word search or puzzles.

  • Electronic IQ tests.

  • Using mental arithmetic rather than the calculator.

  • Reading a book just a little bit out of your intellectual comfort zone.

Mental inertia may be enticing, but the frustration and process of mastering any of the above, of rising to meet a mental challenge is what is going to keep your brain, flexible, nimble, young and functioning efficiently.

One of the simplest energy exercises that helps create space in the head for energy to flow through the brain is the CROWN PULL. It relieves mental congestion and headaches, clears and refreshes the mind and sharpens memory. It takes less than a minute to do, so you will have time to repeat it two or three times.

Prepare by rubbing briskly all over the head - bang goes the hair-styling!

i. Place thumbs at temples with fingertips resting in a vertical line at the middle of the forehead.

ii. Slowly, with pressure, pull fingers apart to the hairline, stretching the skin on your forehead.

iii. Place fingers at hairline and repeat the stretch

iv. Repeat this over the top [imagine a centre parting] and back of the head, all the way down until you reach the base of the neck. Make sure you use pressure as you pull.

v. End on the area where a necklace sits, push in your fingers, hold then pull across the shoulders towards the front. Release and feel the tingling as the area is opened up.

vi. Bring your hands down over the heart area and say a word that has a 'meaning' for you, such as TRANQUILLITY or CLARITY

Keep the body fit with a brisk daily walk that will also get blood and oxygen pumping into the brain. Try stretching, yoga (especially the inversion poses) and breathing exercises. These help reduce stress that can adversely affect our brain cells. Reflexologists (and I'm one) believe if you massage the pads of the big toes it will stimulate the brain.

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